In case you weren’t aware, Syracuse was in the mix for top-25 2020 big man Isaiah Jackson, who had narrowed his list down to three schools: Kentucky, Alabama, and Syracuse.
Unfortunately, Syracuse basketball is once more a bridesmaid in recruiting, as Jackson decided to pick the University of Kentucky for his college destination.
While admittedly disappointing, this isn’t really as big a deal as it seems. In reality, we weren’t even in the picture for this recruitment until about two months ago, when Jackson himself reached out to our coaching staff showing interest.
To be clear, Syracuse had been recruiting Jackson; we had already offered him a scholarship, and he attended the Syracuse Elite Camp in 2018. Even so, it was seen as a long shot for us to get Jackson, as he was a local recruit for both Michigan and Michigan State, and State was the perceived leader by quite a bit, alongside Kentucky.
Jackson didn’t seem to like the way his recruitment was going, so he reached out to our coaches and a visit was set up. The visit went seemingly well, with Isaiah’s father doling out comments talking about how much he loved the program and the “family atmosphere.” He trimmed his list to three, then took his final visit to Alabama before ultimately choosing the Wildcats.
Sadly, the allure of a family atmosphere at Syracuse wasn’t enough to sway him away from the one-and-done factory at Kentucky.
It appears that Kentucky is already trying to recruit over him as they are looking at both Cliff Omoruyi and Paolo Banchero, who could reclassify to 2020. Not to mention, Kentucky’s current roster already has a pair of top 25 forwards in Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery. Isaiah is going to be hard-pressed for playing time, whereas at Syracuse or Alabama, he would have been a focal point.
That said, good luck to Isaiah. From everything I’ve read and watched about him, he seems like a great young man that has his head in the right place. I wish he was Orange, but can’t fault him for choosing what he thought was the best decision for himself.
And besides, this now means that Robert Braswell, AKA the human bungee cord, might actually get some time in the forward rotation next year. He might not be the ferocious dunker and shot blocker that Jackson is, but he has all the intangibles to become a great player for the ‘Cuse. He would also act as a veteran presence to a still very young team next year, especially if we lose Elijah Hughes to the NBA.
So while it’s not the outcome I had hoped for, the fact that we were even in this race was quite surprising. It shouldn’t be looked at as a negative that we didn’t get him, but as a positive that we were that close for a recruit we didn’t even think we had a shot with. And if you can’t tell by now, I’m a very glass half full kinda guy.